19 days after assault by mob, ED conducts fresh raid at TMC leader's Sandeshkhali home

An officer says the ED sealed the house and put up a notice summoning Shahjahan to appear in person before its sleuths for questioning by 29 January

Sheikh Shahjahan (photo: IANS)
Sheikh Shahjahan (photo: IANS)
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PTI

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched the residence of absconding TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali on Wednesday, 24 January, 19 days after officials of the central agency were assaulted by a mob there.

The ED sealed the house and put up a notice summoning Sheikh to appear in person before its sleuths for questioning by 29 January in connection with its probe into the ration distribution scam, an officer said.

During the six-hour search inside the house in North 24-Parganas district, no significant material was found in almirahs, cupboards or suitcases. "It seems that the documents have been removed from this house during the last fortnight. We have sealed the house," the officer told PTI.

The ED officers found a few old visa-related papers, some contractual documents and articles, besides clothing materials, he said, adding that the entire operation was videographed by one of the eight ED officers who went inside the TMC leader's house.

"We have asked Shahjahan to appear in person for questioning at our Kolkata office on 29 January. A notice in this regard has been put up at his residence in Sandeshkhali after today's search there," he said.

The ED officers, accompanied by over 120 personnel of the central armed police force, broke open the collapsible gate at the residence of the TMC leader in the presence of police personnel and two locals as witnesses, the officer said.

After entering the house, the ED officers locked the gates from inside and started searching the house, he added. In the morning, the ED officers were stopped from entering the TMC leader's residence by the local police before they were shown an "order to conduct a search operation" there.

"We need to see the order to conduct a search operation at any place within our jurisdiction. This is the norm. They (ED officers) showed the order and after that we allowed them to break open the gate and start searching inside," a senior officer of Basirhat police district said.

He said the police will cooperate with the ED and will see that they do not face problems.

On 5 January, a team of ED officers were assaulted by a mob when they tried to enter the residence of the TMC leader. Three officers were injured in the attack. The district police and Sheikh's family members had lodged a complaint against the ED officers. Sheikh is absconding and a lookout notice has been issued against him.

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